Desserts

Pear + Pistachio Sponge Pudding


Prep Time : 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 40 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Sometimes you just need something warm and sweet that transports you to childhood. Especially with all the greyness outside. Every kiwi kid probably remembers having the fruit sponge from the Edmonds book. Probably on top of apples or tinned peaches. Today we are taking that sweet memory and giving it a bit of a makeover. It’s pear season so let’s make the most of them. Lets cook them gently with a few spices and top them with a golden nutty sponge. Sweet and spicy and warm. Perfect to chase away the chill. I love pears and I love cardamom so we are putting them together to star in this dessert. We are adding vanilla bean and chopped pistachios to the sponge to give it aroma and texture.

This dessert should be served warm so if you want to do some of it ahead I would cook the pears and put them into the serving/baking dish and leave it to cool. When it comes time to prep put the pan into the oven with the fruit in it to warm up while you spend 5 minutes making the sponge topping. That way you can put the sponge straight on the hot fruit and put it back into the oven while you eat dinner. Perfect. Although let’s be honest it’s bloody good cold for breakfast.

Heat the oven to 180C (350F). Find a deep 9 inch glass or ceramic pie plate or a 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Because we have acidic fruits in the bottom we don’t want to use a metal dish if can avoid it.

For the fruit. Peel, core and chop your pears into chunks or wedges. I like 2 inch pieces. Put them in a large saucepan or a deep frying pan with the lemon zest and juice, sugar, cardamom, butter, water and vanilla. We want them to be in a fairly shallow layer. Not all piled up. We want to be able to cook all the pieces through without stirring them too much.

Simmer over a low heat until the pears are just tender. Transfer the fruit to the baking dish and put it in the oven to keep warm while you make the sponge.

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla bean paste and beat until well combined.

Add the milk, flour, baking powder and chopped pistachios and fold until just combined.

Take the hot dish of fruit out of the oven and set it on a wire rack. Quickly spoon the sponge over the fruit. The easiest way is to dab spoonfuls all over the top then use a spatula to join them up roughly.

Put the dish straight back into the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed in the centre. It will be quite dark golden brown.

Set the dish on a wire rack to cool a little. We don’t want to burn our tongues. Dust with a little icing sugar. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard. You know the good creamy stuff.

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Pear + Pistachio Sponge Pudding


Prep Time : 20 mins | Cook Time : 40 mins | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Makes : 6 servings

Sweet spiced pears topped with soft golden sponge studded with pistachios – serve with your favourite custard or vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 5 large pears (i like Buerre Bosc)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the sponge:

  • 8 tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (115 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or the seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (115 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachio kernels

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Deep frying pan or large saucepan
  • Standing or hand-held electric mixer
  • Deep 9 inch ceramic or glass pie plate, or an 8 inch square baking dish

Directions:

Heat the oven to 180C (350F). Find a deep 9 inch glass or ceramic pie plate or a 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Because we have acidic fruits in the bottom we don’t want to use a metal dish if can avoid it.

For the fruit. Peel, core and chop your pears into chunks or wedges. I like 2 inch pieces. Put them in a large saucepan or a deep frying pan with the lemon zest and juice, sugar, cardamom, butter, water and vanilla. We want them to be in a fairly shallow layer. Not all piled up. We want to be able to cook all the pieces through without stirring them too much.

Simmer over a low heat until the pears are just tender. Transfer the fruit to the baking dish and put it in the oven to keep warm while you make the sponge.

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla bean paste and beat until well combined.

Add the milk, flour, baking powder and chopped pistachios and fold until just combined.

Take the hot dish of fruit out of the oven and set it on a wire rack. Quickly spoon the sponge over the fruit. The easiest way is to dab spoonfuls all over the top then use a spatula to join them up roughly.

Put the dish straight back into the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed in the centre. It will be quite dark golden brown.

Set the dish on a wire rack to cool a little. We don’t want to burn our tongues. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard. You know the good creamy stuff.

Cook’s Notes:

  • How long it takes to bake will depend on the size of your pan and therefore how deep the layer of sponge is. Having the fruit and dish hot to begin with will help it start cooking straight away.
  • Try this sponge over cooked quinces – you will need to allow at least 30 minutes to cook the quinces first.

 – This pudding should be eaten warm directly after baking but will keep for 3 days as a guilty leftover treat – 

Adapted from The Edmonds Cookery Book.

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